The Mortal Immortal
by Mary Shelley
July 16, 1833. -- This is a memorable anniversary for
me; on it I complete my three hundred and twenty-third year!
The Wandering Jew? -- certainly not. More than eighteen
centuries have passed over his head. In comparison with him, I am a very young
Am I, then, immortal? This is a question which I have
asked myself, by day and night, for now three hundred and three years, and yet
cannot answer it. I detected a grey hair amidst my brown locks this very day --
that surely signifies decay. Yet it may have remained concealed there for three
hundred years -- for some persons have become entirely white-headed before
twenty years of age.
I will tell my story, and my reader shall judge for me.
I will tell my story, and so contrive to pass some few hours of a long eternity,
become so wearisome to me. For ever! Can it be? to live for ever! I have heard
of enchantments, in which the victims were plunged into a deep sleep, to wake,
after a hundred years, as fresh as ever: I have heard of the Seven Sleepers --
thus to be immortal would not be so burthensome: but, oh! the weight of
never-ending time -- the tedious passage of the still-succeeding hours! How
happy was the fabled Nourjahad! -- But to my task.
All the world has heard of Cornelius Agrippa. His memory
is as immortal as his arts have made me. All the world has also heard of his
scholar, who, unawares, raised the foul fiend during his master's absence, and
was destroyed by him. The report, true or false, of this accident, was attended
with many inconveniences to the renowned philosopher. All his scholars at once
deserted him -- his servants disappeared. He had no one near him to put coals on
his ever-burning fires while he slept, or to attend to the changeful colours of
his medicines while he studied. Experiment after experiment failed, because one
pair of hands was insufficient to complete them: the dark spirits laughed at him
for not being able to retain a single mortal in his service.
I was then very young -- very poor -- and very much in
love. I had been for about a year the pupil of Cornelius, though I was absent
when this accident took place. On my return, my friends implored me not to
return to the alchymist's abode. I trembled as I listened to the dire tale they
told; I required no second warning; and when Cornelius came and offered me a
purse of gold if I would remain under his roof, I felt as if Satan himself
tempted me. My teeth chattered -- my hair stood on end; -- I ran off as fast as
my trembling knees would permit.
My failing steps were directed whither for two years
they had every evening been attracted, -- a gently bubbling spring of pure
living water, beside which lingered a dark-haired girl, whose beaming eyes were
fixed on the path I was accustomed each night to tread. I cannot remember the
hour when I did not love Bertha; we had been neighbours and playmates from
infancy, -- her parents, like mine were of humble life, yet respectable, -- our
attachment had been a source of pleasure to them. In an evil hour, a malignant
fever carried off both her father and mother, and Bertha became an orphan. She
would have found a home beneath my paternal roof, but, unfortunately, the old
lady of the near castle, rich, childless, and solitary, declared her intention
to adopt her. Henceforth Bertha was clad in silk -- inhabited a marble palace --
and was looked on as being highly favoured by fortune. But in her new situation
among her new associates, Bertha remained true to the friend of her humbler days;
she often visited the cottage of my father, and when forbidden to go thither,
she would stray towards the neighbouring wood, and meet me beside its shady
She often declared that she owed no duty to her new
protectress equal in sanctity to that which bound us. Yet still I was too poor
to marry, and she grew weary of being tormented on my account. She had a haughty
but an impatient spirit, and grew angry at the obstacle that prevented our union.
We met now after an absence, and she had been sorely beset while I was away; she
complained bitterly, and almost reproached me for being poor. I replied hastily,
"I am honest, if I am poor! -- were I not, I might
soon become rich!"
This exclamation produced a thousand questions. I feared
to shock her by owning the truth, but she drew it from me; and then, casting a
look of disdain on me, she said, --
"You pretend to love, and you fear to face the
Devil for my sake!"
I protested that I had only dreaded to offend her; --
while she dwelt on the magnitude of the reward that I should receive. Thus
encouraged -- shamed by her -- led on by love and hope, laughing at my later
fears, with quick steps and a light heart, I returned to accept the offers of
the alchymist, and was instantly installed in my office.
A year passed away. I became possessed of no
insignificant sum of money. Custom had banished my fears. In spite of the most
painful vigilance, I had never detected the trace of a cloven foot; nor was the
studious silence of our abode ever disturbed by demoniac howls. I still
continued my stolen interviews with Bertha, and Hope dawned on me -- Hope -- but
not perfect joy: for Bertha fancied that love and security were enemies, and her
pleasure was to divide them in my bosom. Though true of heart, she was something
of a coquette in manner; I was jealous as a Turk. She slighted me in a thousand
ways, yet would never acknowledge herself to be in the wrong. She would drive me
mad with anger, and then force me to beg her pardon. Sometimes she fancied that
I was not sufficiently submissive, and then she had some story of a rival,
favoured by her protectress. She was surrounded by silk-clad youths -- the rich
and gay. What chance had the sad-robed scholar of Cornelius compared with these?
On one occasion, the philosopher made such large demands
upon my time, that I was unable to meet her as I was wont. He was engaged in
some mighty work, and I was forced to remain, day and night, feeding his
furnaces and watching his chemical preparations. Bertha waited for me in vain at
the fountain. Her haughty spirit fired at this neglect; and when at last I stole
out during a few short minutes allotted to me for slumber, and hoped to be
consoled by her, she received me with disdain, dismissed me in scorn, and vowed
that any man should possess her hand rather than he who could not be in two
places at once for her sake. She would be revenged! And truly she was. In my
dingy retreat I heard that she had been hunting, attended by Albert Hoffer.
Albert Hoffer was favoured by her protectress, and the three passed in cavalcade
before my smoky window. Methought that they mentioned my name; it was followed
by a laugh of derision, as her dark eyes glanced contemptuously towards my abode.
Jealousy, with all its venom and all its misery, entered
my breast. Now I shed a torrent of tears, to think that I should never call her
mine; and, anon, I imprecated a thousand curses on her inconstancy. Yet, still I
must stir the fires of the alchymist, still attend on the changes of his
Cornelius had watched for three days and nights, nor
closed his eyes. The progress of his alembics was slower than he expected: in
spite of his anxiety, sleep weighted upon his eyelids. Again and again he threw
off drowsiness with more than human energy; again and again it stole away his
senses. He eyed his crucibles wistfully. "Not ready yet," he murmured;
"will another night pass before the work is accomplished? Winzy, you are
vigilant -- you are faithful -- you have slept, my boy -- you slept last night.
Look at that glass vessel. The liquid it contains is of a soft rose-colour: the
moment it begins to change hue, awaken me -- till then I may close my eyes.
First, it will turn white, and then emit golden flashes; but wait not till then;
when the rose-colour fades, rouse me." I scarcely heard the last words,
muttered, as they were, in sleep. Even then he did not quite yield to nature.
"Winzy, my boy," he again said, "do not touch the vessel -- do
not put it to your lips; it is a philtre -- a philtre to cure love; you would
not cease to love your Bertha -- beware to drink!"
And he slept. His venerable head sunk on his breast, and
I scarce heard his regular breathing. For a few minutes I watched the vessel --
the rosy hue of the liquid remained unchanged. Then my thoughts wandered -- they
visited the fountain, and dwelt on a thousand charming scenes never to be
renewed -- never! Serpents and adders were in my heart as the word "Never!"
half formed itself on my lips. False girl! -- false and cruel! Never more would
she smile on me as that evening she smiled on Albert. Worthless, detested woman!
I would not remain unrevenged -- she should see Albert expire at her feet -- she
should die beneath my vengeance. She had smiled in disdain and triumph -- she
knew my wretchedness and her power. Yet what power had she? -- the power of
exciting my hate -- my utter scorn -- my -- oh, all but indifference! Could I
attain that -- could I regard her with careless eyes, transferring my rejected
love to one fairer and more true, that were indeed a victory!
A bright flash darted before my eyes. I had forgotten
the medicine of the adept; I gazed on it with wonder: flashes of admirable
beauty, more bright than those which the diamond emits when the sun's rays are
on it, glanced from the surface of the liquid; and odour the most fragrant and
grateful stole over my sense; the vessel seemed one globe of living radiance,
lovely to the eye, and most inviting to the taste. The first thought,
instinctively inspired by the grosser sense, was, I will -- I must drink. I
raised the vessel to my lips. "It will cure me of love -- of torture!"
Already I had quaffed half of the most delicious liquor ever tasted by the
palate of man, when the philosopher stirred. I started -- I dropped the glass --
the fluid flamed and glanced along the floor, while I felt Cornelius's gripe at
my throat, as he shrieked aloud, "Wretch! you have destroyed the labour of
The philosopher was totally unaware that I had drunk any
portion of his drug. His idea was, and I gave a tacit assent to it, that I had
raised the vessel from curiosity, and that, frightened at its brightness, and
the flashes of intense light it gave forth, I had let it fall. I never
undeceived him. The fire of the medicine was quenched -- the fragrance died away
-- he grew calm, as a philosopher should under the heaviest trials, and
dismissed me to rest.
I will not attempt to describe the sleep of glory and
bliss which bathed my soul in paradise during the remaining hours of that
memorable night. Words would be faint and shallow types of my enjoyment, or of
the gladness that possessed my bosom when I woke. I trod air -- my thoughts were
in heaven. Earth appeared heaven, and my inheritance upon it was to be one
trance of delight. "This it is to be cured of love," I thought;
"I will see Bertha this day, and she will find her lover cold and
regardless; too happy to be disdainful, yet how utterly indifferent to her!"
The hours danced away. The philosopher, secure that he
had once succeeded, and believing that he might again, began to concoct the same
medicine once more. He was shut up with his books and drugs, and I had a holiday.
I dressed myself with care; I looked in an old but polished shield which served
me for a mirror; methoughts my good looks had wonderfully improved. I hurried
beyond the precincts of the town, joy in my soul, the beauty of heaven and earth
around me. I turned my steps toward the castle -- I could look on its lofty
turrets with lightness of heart, for I was cured of love. My Bertha saw me afar
off, as I came up the avenue. I know not what sudden impulse animated her bosom,
but at the sight, she sprung with a light fawn-like bound down the marble steps,
and was hastening towards me. But I had been perceived by another person. The
old high-born hag, who called herself her protectress, and was her tyrant, had
seen me also; she hobbled, panting, up the terrace; a page, as ugly as herself,
held up her train, and fanned her as she hurried along, and stopped my fair girl
with a "How, now, my bold mistress? whither so fast? Back to your cage --
hawks are abroad!"
Bertha clasped her hands -- her eyes were still bent on
my approaching figure. I saw the contest. How I abhorred the old crone who
checked the kind impulses of my Bertha's softening heart. Hitherto, respect for
her rank had caused me to avoid the lady of the castle; now I disdained such
trivial considerations. I was cured of love, and lifted above all human fears; I
hastened forwards, and soon reached the terrace. How lovely Bertha looked! her
eyes flashing fire, her cheeks glowing with impatience and anger, she was a
thousand times more graceful and charming than ever. I no longer loved -- oh no!
I adored -- worshipped -- idolized her!
She had that morning been persecuted, with more than
usual vehemence, to consent to an immediate marriage with my rival. She was
reproached with the encouragement that she had shown him -- she was threatened
with being turned out of doors with disgrace and shame. Her proud spirit rose in
arms at the threat; but when she remembered the scorn that she had heaped upon
me, and how, perhaps, she had thus lost one whom she now regarded as her only
friend, she wept with remorse and rage. At that moment I appeared. "Oh,
Winzy!" she exclaimed, "take me to your mother's cot; swiftly let me
leave the detested luxuries and wretchedness of this noble dwelling -- take me
to poverty and happiness."
I clasped her in my arms with transport. The old dame
was speechless with fury, and broke forth into invective only when we were far
on the road to my natal cottage. My mother received the fair fugitive, escaped
from a gilt cage to nature and liberty, with tenderness and joy; my father, who
loved her, welcomed her heartily; it was a day of rejoicing, which did not need
the addition of the celestial potion of the alchymist to steep me in delight.
Soon after this eventful day, I became the husband of
Bertha. I ceased to be the scholar of Cornelius, but I continued his friend. I
always felt grateful to him for having, unaware, procured me that delicious
draught of a divine elixir, which, instead of curing me of love (sad cure!
solitary and joyless remedy for evils which seem blessings to the memory), had
inspired me with courage and resolution, thus winning for me an inestimable
treasure in my Bertha.
I often called to mind that period of trance-like
inebriation with wonder. The drink of Cornelius had not fulfilled the task for
which he affirmed that it had been prepared, but its effects were more potent
and blissful than words can express. They had faded by degrees, yet they
lingered long -- and painted life in hues of splendour. Bertha often wondered at
my lightness of heart and unaccustomed gaiety; for, before, I had been rather
serious, or even sad, in my disposition. She loved me the better for my cheerful
temper, and our days were winged by joy.
Five years afterwards I was suddenly summoned to the
bedside of the dying Cornelius. He had sent for me in haste, conjuring my
instant presence. I found him stretched on his pallet, enfeebled even to death;
all of life that yet remained animated his piercing eyes, and they were fixed on
a glass vessel, full of roseate liquid.
"Behold," he said, in a broken and inward
voice, "the vanity of human wishes! a second time my hopes are about to be
crowned, a second time they are destroyed. Look at that liquor -- you may
remember five years ago I had prepared the same, with the same success; -- then,
as now, my thirsting lips expected to taste the immortal elixir -- you dashed it
from me! and at present it is too late."
He spoke with difficulty, and fell back on his pillow. I
could not help saying, --
"How, revered master, can a cure for love restore
you to life?"
A faint smile gleamed across his face as I listened
earnestly to his scarcely intelligible answer.
"A cure for love and for all things -- the Elixir
of Immortality. Ah! if now I might drink, I should live for ever!"
As he spoke, a golden flash gleamed from the fluid; a
well-remembered fragrance stole over the air; he raised himself, all weak as he
was -- strength seemed miraculously to re-enter his frame -- he stretched forth
his hand -- a loud explosion startled me -- a ray of fire shot up from the
elixir, and the glass vessel which contained it was shivered to atoms! I turned
my eyes towards the philosopher; he had fallen back -- his eyes were glassy --
his features rigid -- he was dead!
But I lived, and was to live for ever! So said the
unfortunate alchymist, and for a few days I believed his words. I remembered the
glorious intoxication that had followed my stolen draught. I reflected on the
change I had felt in my frame -- in my soul. The bounding elasticity of the one
-- the buoyant lightness of the other. I surveyed myself in a mirror, and could
perceive no change in my features during the space of the five years which had
elapsed. I remembered the radiant hues and grateful scent of that delicious
beverage -- worthy the gift it was capable of bestowing -- I was, then,IMMORTAL!
A few days after I laughed at my credulity. The old
proverb, that "a prophet is least regarded in his own country," was
true with respect to me and my defunct master. I loved him as a man -- I
respected him as a sage -- but I derided the notion that he could command the
powers of darkness, and laughed at the superstitious fears with which he was
regarded by the vulgar. He was a wise philosopher, but had no acquaintance with
any spirits but those clad in flesh and blood. His science was simply human; and
human science, I soon persuaded myself, could never conquer nature's laws so far
as to imprison the soul for ever within its carnal habitation. Cornelius had
brewed a soul-refreshing drink -- more inebriating than wine -- sweeter and more
fragrant than any fruit: it possessed probably strong medicinal powers,
imparting gladness to the heart and vigour to the limbs; but its effects would
wear out; already they were diminished in my frame. I was a lucky fellow to have
quaffed health and joyous spirits, and perhaps a long life, at my master's hands;
but my good fortune ended there: longevity was far different from immortality.
I continued to entertain this belief for many years.
Sometimes a thought stole across me -- Was the alchymist indeed deceived? But my
habitual credence was, that I should meet the fate of all the children of Adam
at my appointed time -- a little late, but still at a natural age. Yet it was
certain that I retained a wonderfully youthful look. I was laughed at for my
vanity in consulting the mirror so often, but I consulted it in vain -- my brow
was untrenched -- my cheeks -- my eyes -- my whole person continued as
untarnished as in my twentieth year.
I was troubled. I looked at the faded beauty of Bertha
-- I seemed more like her son. By degrees our neighbors began to make similar
observations, and I found at last that I went by the name of the Scholar
bewitched. Bertha herself grew uneasy. She became jealous and peevish, and at
length she began to question me. We had no children; we were all in all to each
other; and though, as she grew older, her vivacious spirit became a little
allied to ill-temper, and her beauty sadly diminished, I cherished her in my
heart as the mistress I idolized, the wife I had sought and won with such
At last our situation became intolerable: Bertha was
fifty -- I twenty years of age. I had, in very shame, in some measure adopted
the habits of advanced age; I no longer mingled in the dance among the young and
gay, but my heart bounded along with them while I restrained my feet; and a
sorry figure I cut among the Nestors of our village. But before the time I
mention, things were altered -- we were universally shunned; we were -- at least,
I was -- reported to have kept up an iniquitous acquaintance with some of my
former master's supposed friends. Poor Bertha was pitied, but deserted. I was
regarded with horror and detestation.
What was to be done? we sat by our winter fire --
poverty had made itself felt, for none would buy the produce of my farm; and
often I had been forced to journey twenty miles to some place where I was not
known, to dispose of our property. It is true, we had saved something for an
evil day -- that day was come.
We sat by our lone fireside -- the old-hearted youth and
his antiquated wife. Again Bertha insisted on knowing the truth; she
recapitulated all she had ever heard said about me, and added her own
observations. She conjured me to cast off the spell; she described how much more
comely grey hairs were than my chestnut locks; she descanted on the reverence
and respect due to age -- how preferable to the slight regard paid to mere
children: could I imagine that the despicable gifts of youth and good looks
outweighed disgrace, hatred and scorn? Nay, in the end I should be burnt as a
dealer in the black art, while she, to whom I had not deigned to communicate any
portion of my good fortune, might be stoned as my accomplice. At length she
insinuated that I must share my secret with her, and bestow on her like benefits
to those I myself enjoyed, or she would denounce me -- and then she burst into
Thus beset, methought it was the best way to tell the
truth. I reveled it as tenderly as I could, and spoke only of a very long
life, not of immortality -- which representation, indeed, coincided best
with my own ideas. When I ended I rose and said,--
"And now, my Bertha, will you denounce the lover of
your youth? -- You will not, I know. But it is too hard, my poor wife, that you
should suffer for my ill-luck and the accursed arts of Cornelius. I will leave
you -- you have wealth enough, and friends will return in my absence. I will go;
young as I seem and strong as I am, I can work and gain my bread among strangers,
unsuspected and unknown. I loved you in youth; God is my witness that I would
not desert you in age, but that your safety and happiness require it."
I took my cap and moved toward the door; in a moment
Bertha's arms were round my neck, and her lips were pressed to mine. "No,
my husband, my Winzy," she said, "you shall not go alone -- take me
with you; we will remove from this place, and, as you say, among strangers we
shall be unsuspected and safe. I am not so old as quite to shame you, my Winzy;
and I daresay the charm will soon wear off, and, with the blessing of God, you
will become more elderly-looking, as is fitting; you shall not leave me."
I returned the good soul's embrace heartily. "I
will not, my Bertha; but for your sake I had not thought of such a thing. I will
be your true, faithful husband while you are spared to me, and do my duty by you
to the last."
The next day we prepared secretly for our emigration. We
were obliged to make great pecuniary sacrifices -- it could not be helped. We
realized a sum sufficient, at least, to maintain us while Bertha lived; and,
without saying adieu to any one, quitted our native country to take refuge in a
remote part of western France.
It was a cruel thing to transport poor Bertha from her
native village, and the friends of her youth, to a new country, new language,
new customs. The strange secret of my destiny rendered this removal immaterial
to me; but I compassionated her deeply, and was glad to perceive that she found
compensation for her misfortunes in a variety of little ridiculous circumstances.
Away from all tell-tale chroniclers, she sought to decrease the apparent
disparity of our ages by a thousand feminine arts -- rouge, youthful dress, and
assumed juvenility of manner. I could not be angry. Did I not myself wear a mask?
Why quarrel with hers, because it was less successful? I grieved deeply when I
remembered that this was my Bertha, whom I had loved so fondly and won with such
transport -- the dark-eyed, dark-haired girl, with smiles of enchanting archness
and a step like a fawn -- this mincing, simpering, jealous old woman. I should
have revered her grey locks and withered cheeks; but thus! -- It was my work, I
knew; but I did not the less deplore this type of human weakness.
Her jealously never slept. Her chief occupation was to
discover that, in spite of outward appearances, I was myself growing old. I
verily believe that the poor soul loved me truly in her heart, but never had
woman so tormenting a mode of displaying fondness. She would discern wrinkles in
my face and decrepitude in my walk, while I bounded along in youthful vigour,
the youngest looking of twenty youths. I never dared address another woman. On
one occasion, fancying that the belle of the village regarded me with favouring
eyes, she brought me a grey wig. Her constant discourse among her acquaintances
was, that though I looked so young, there was ruin at work within my frame; and
she affirmed that the worst symptom about me was my apparent health. My youth
was a disease, she said, and I ought at all times to prepare, if not for a
sudden and awful death, at least to awake some morning white-headed and bowed
down with all the marks of advanced years. I let her talk -- I often joined in
her conjectures. Her warnings chimed in with my never-ceasing speculations
concerning my state, and I took an earnest, though painful, interest in
listening to all that her quick wit and excited imagination could say on the
Why dwell on these minute circumstances? We lived on for
many long years. Bertha became bedrid and paralytic; I nursed her as a mother
might a child. She grew peevish, and still harped upon one string -- of how long
I should survive her. It has ever been a source of consolation to me, that I
performed my duty scrupulously towards her. She had been mine in youth, she was
mine in age; and at last, when I heaped the sod over her corpse, I wept to feel
that I had lost all that really bound me to humanity.
Since then how many have been my cares and woes, how few
and empty my enjoyments! I pause here in my history -- I will pursue it no
further. A sailor without rudder or compass, tossed on a stormy sea -- a
traveller lost on a widespread heath, without landmark or stone to guide him --
such I have been: more lost, more hopeless than either. A nearing ship, a gleam
from some far cot, may save them; but I have no beacon except the hope of death.
Death! mysterious, ill-visaged friend of weak humanity!
Why alone of all mortals have you cast me from your sheltering fold? Oh, for the
peace of the grave! the deep silence of the iron-bound tomb! that thought would
cease to work in my brain, and my heart beat no more with emotions varied only
by new forms of sadness!
Am I immortal? I return to my first question. In the
first place, is it not more probably that the beverage of the alchymist was
fraught rather with longevity than eternal life? Such is my hope. And then be it
remembered, that I only drank half of the potion prepared by him. Was not
the whole necessary to complete the charm? To have drained half the Elixir of
Immortality is but to be half-immortal -- my For-ever is thus truncated and null.
But again, who shall number the years of the half of
eternity? I often try to imagine by what rule the infinite may be divided.
Sometimes I fancy age advancing upon me. One grey hair I have found. Fool! do I
lament? Yes, the fear of age and death often creeps coldly into my heart; and
the more I live, the more I dread death, even while I abhor life. Such an enigma
is man -- born to perish -- when he wars, as I do, against the established laws
of his nature.
But for this anomaly of feeling surely I might die: the
medicine of the alchymist would not be proof against fire -- sword -- and the
strangling waters. I have gazed upon the blue depths of many a placid lake, and
the tumultuous rushing of many a mighty river, and have said, peace inhabits
those waters; yet I have turned my steps away, to live yet another day. I have
asked myself, whether suicide would be a crime in one to whom thus only the
portals of the other world could be opened. I have done all, except presenting
myself as a soldier or duelist, an objection of destruction to my -- no, not
my fellow mortals, and therefore I have shrunk away. They are not my fellows.
The inextinguishable power of life in my frame, and their ephemeral existence,
places us wide as the poles asunder. I could not raise a hand against the
meanest or the most powerful among them.
Thus have I lived on for many a year -- alone, and weary
of myself -- desirous of death, yet never dying -- a mortal immortal. Neither
ambition nor avarice can enter my mind, and the ardent love that gnaws at my
heart, never to be returned -- never to find an equal on which to expend itself
-- lives there only to torment me.
This very day I conceived a design by which I may end
all -- without self-slaughter, without making another man a Cain -- an
expedition, which mortal frame can never survive, even endued with the youth and
strength that inhabits mine. Thus I shall put my immortality to the test, and
rest for ever -- or return, the wonder and benefactor of the human species.
Before I go, a miserable vanity has caused me to pen
these pages. I would not die, and leave no name behind. Three centuries have
passed since I quaffed the fatal beverage; another year shall not elapse before,
encountering gigantic dangers -- warring with the powers of frost in their home
-- beset by famine, toil, and tempest -- I yield this body, too tenacious a cage
for a soul which thirsts for freedom, to the destructive elements of air and
water; or, if I survive, my name shall be recorded as one of the most famous
among the sons of men; and, my task achieved, I shall adopt more resolute means,
and, by scattering and annihilating the atoms that compose my frame, set at
liberty the life imprisoned within, and so cruelly prevented from soaring from
this dim earth to a sphere more congenial to its immortal essence.